Abhorrence – Totally Vulgar

Author: Brendan Blake

Abhorrence – Totally Vulgar
  • Artist: Abhorrence
  • Album: Totally Vulgar – Live At Tuska Open Air 2013
  • Year of Release: 2017
  • Country: Finland
  • Label: Svart Records
  • Format: Digipack CD
  • Catalogue Number: SVART059CD

Following the release of the Completely Vulgar demo/EP compilation in 2012, there was talk of Abhorrence reforming to play some shows, and even record some new material. The band were generally quite reticent on this front, but there was a sense of inevitability about it. When asked if they would like to play the prestigious Finnish Tuska metal festival in 2013, they felt like they couldn’t refuse, and their appearance there ended up being one of three shows they played in 2013, before formally admitting that they had reformed and were writing new material. The Tuska show was recorded for posterity, and released four years later by Svart.

What to say about it? With very few exceptions, I’ve always found live albums to be a bit of an unnecessary adjunct to a band’s studio output, and this to be honest is not bucking that trend.  At best, a live album is an opportunity to compile a “greatest hits” collection that will be bought by the core fanbase who are happy to have slightly different versions of their favourite tunes, but in the case of Abhorrence that is necessarily impossible, as they only had about ten songs to choose from in the first place. That’s not to say this is terrible – just a bit redundant.

For those who care… as far as live albums go, this is pretty well recorded, and the band sounds tight – much tighter than they did on the original recordings, given that they’ve all grown as musicians in the intervening 20 years. They certainly sound hungry, and I can imagine the crowd (should they be aware of the heritage of the band and have an interest in the early days of Finnish death metal) going suitably mental, although the recording has quashed crowd noise, so unless I knew this was a live recording I’m not sure I’d be able to tell. The set-list is predictable, but full of well-loved (by me at least) tunes like ‘Pestilential Mists’, ‘Caught In A Vortex’, ‘Holy Laws Of Pain’, and closing, naturally, with ‘Vulgar Necrolatry’. There is some interest here in listening to very primitive songs being played by much more seasoned musicians, giving an impression of what an Abhorrence album might have sounded like had they not imploded in the early ‘90s.

A perfectly passable way to spend half an hour, but ultimately is unlikely to get much spin-time. Abhorrence fans will stick on the EP collection, non-Abhorrence fans will just not bother, which leaves the completists (me) and anyone who happened to actually be at the show. A sort of vaguely interesting, but ultimately pointless release.

Score: 55%

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